Let's all do our bit to help our SA

05 March 2020 - 10:52
By THE EDITORIAL
With the recession hitting the South African economy, everybody is feeling the pinch, the writer says, it is only fair that we all play our part to ease the burden that we will all carry eventually - one way or the other.
Image: alphaspirit\123rf With the recession hitting the South African economy, everybody is feeling the pinch, the writer says, it is only fair that we all play our part to ease the burden that we will all carry eventually - one way or the other.

As the government works towards accelerating its economic reforms to boost growth which will hopefully get the country out of the technical recession, we all have to play our parts.

On Tuesday, Statistics SA announced that the country had slid into a technical recession, a second one in less than two years.

Reacting to the news, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was not surprised, as this was partly due to negative business and consumer confidence and disruption of production because of load-shedding.

"The [Stats SA] figures from the last quarter are not pleasing. But at the same time, they could not have come as a shock because the signs were there - the loadshedding and the impact that it had on production in manufacturing and trade," he said.

"Agriculture slumped the most but I think, most importantly, business and consumer confidence has been affected as well." Ramaphosa also said that the government was in the process of fixing Eskom, citing the recent appointment of CEO Andre de Ruyter.

However, this is not just De Ruyter's responsibility as Eskom needs every cent it can get to fix its ailing infrastructure and build more capacity to cover the whole country. Some government departments, municipalities and citizens - most notably in Soweto - are not paying their bills. It is time they played their part by paying for what they consume now.

Yes, there are poor households in the township who rely on social grants who will need a flat rate but there are also rich families, middle class and working class people who can afford to pay but are not. Government departments and municipalities need to lead by example and do what is right.

Everybody is feeling the pinch, and it is only fair that we all play our part to ease the burden that we will all carry eventually - one way or the other.

During the State of the Nation Address and the Budget speech a few days later, the government announced its intentions to slash R160bn off the state's wage bill over the next three years. It cannot afford the agreed-to increases of wage agreement of CPI plus 1% to civil servants. But public sector unions are having none of it.

Ramaphosa has pledged there will be no job losses. The unions have to sacrifice something and put the interests of the country first.